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15yearsagoBy Brian Van Bower

‘Believe it or not,’ wrote Brian Van Bower in his Aqua Culture column for November/December 2002, ‘goals can guide almost everything we do, from how we schedule our time to how we establish our business and personal relationships or determine the things we choose to learn.’ He continued:

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‘When it comes to [y]our true desires, . . . the important thing is allowing yourself to step back and question what it is you really want and assess how well your habits serve your efforts to reach those desires. If this seems overly philosophical, stop and think about how many people you know who don’t like what they do for a living. If you’ve ever found yourself in that situation where each day you face seems like a dreary extension of the one before it, I trust you came to recognize that you needed to make a change – and set yourself some new goals that better reflected your true desires.’

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‘Another difficulty of goals is that nothing about them is automatic or guaranteed. . . . A big part of why that’s so is that many people do not take the process far enough and establish specific-enough targets. Some goals, for example, sound very good but don’t really support a plan of action. These include some of the classics, such as “Someday I’d like to be rich and famous” or “My goal is to find happiness.” ’

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‘Another key to effective goal setting has to do with being able to express your goal concisely in an understandable, plausible way. Yes, almost anything is possible, but without clarity and realism in the planning process, the odds of your getting where you want to be will decrease dramatically.’

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‘In setting your goals, whether business or personal, if you cannot easily see yourself doing what’s needed to achieve your goal, you might need to adjust your thinking. This doesn’t mean abandoning your overall goal – quite the contrary. Instead, all it might mean is that you need to be realistic about your current level of preparedness for success and insert more interim goals for the short term as you pursue the ultimate goal.’

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‘Nothing about this discussion is complicated or particularly difficult, but it’s amazing how we human beings have a capacity to place significant limits on our ability to set and reach goals. Recognizing these tendencies . . . in yourself and working to overcome them can give you a real boost in your effort to set and obtain your goals.’

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‘Ultimately, our goals are only limited by our imaginations. People who have underdeveloped imaginations will have difficulty setting goals that are outside the proverbial box, while people who are comfortable imagining the future will have a much easier time setting and realizing goals.’

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‘Hard work, diligence and even luck play big roles, too, in how we reach our goals. Interestingly,’ he concluded, ‘I’ve found that the more I base what I do on both my long-range and short-term goals, the less what I do actually feels like “work.” I’ve toiled hard through the years and have run into my share of luck – but it wasn’t until I discovered the power of setting goals that my hard work and good fortune started to pay dividends.’

Does the current marketplace leave you the luxury of setting goals the way Brian recommends? Or have the necessities of the here and now made it harder to look down the line to consider where you want to be rather than where you are? Please share your thoughts below!

 

Brian Van Bower runs Aquatic Consultants, a design firm based in Miami, Fla., and is a co-founder of the Genesis 3 Design Group. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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